NORTH-WEST IS PROOF THAT SOUTH AFRICA DOESN’T NEED PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENTS
When the architects of the so-called “new South Africa” were crafting the new political dispensation, they did not have the system of Provincial Governments in mind. The decision to introduce Provinces was taken to appease the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), which had wanted a special deal for Zulu King Zwelithini. The IFP had insisted that the Zulu kingdom should be recognised in the new dispensation. In order to address this concern, which was putting the entire sell-out settlement in jeopardy, the negotiators cleverly came up with a plan of Provinces. They drew 9 Provinces as we know them today.
The 9 Provinces have Provincial Legislatures. But to be blunt, these legislatures serve no purpose. There is the National Assembly that is the country’s legislative assembly. Laws are developed and passed in the national Parliament. Does this mean that Provinces do not play any useful role at all? No, they do. Provinces are a creative employment scheme for politicians. They create another layer of political authority. In addition to creating employment for the politicians, the powers that be create artificial departments at huge cost of the state and tax payers.
All the national departments, except for the Defence Force, are duplicated in the Provinces. The Provinces have huge budgets that run into billions of rands. But they do not really have sources of revenue, save for a few such as gambling boards. Provinces get allocations from National Treasury, and distribute the funds to the various departments.
What is happening in the North West Province is a clear proof that the country does not need Provincial Governments. The health services in that Province have collapsed, and the national government has taken over the administration of health in that Province. It is not for the first time that a provincial department is placed under administration by the national government. A few years ago, several Limpopo departments were placed under administration due to a state of collapse of services and corruption.
Those who are benefiting from the duplication of the departments will obviously oppose a move to remove the Provincial Governments. But in truth, they serve no purpose. The Provincial Governments should be replaced by simple Administrations – not governments. The resources saved by the abolition of Provincial Governments should be channelled to the strengthening of Local Governments that will deliver basic services to the people.
As we see North West burning and people complaining about the collapse of service delivery, we should not forget that the Provinces were just a sell-out compromise, and not a planned development design.
It is time that the long-held policy position of AZAPO on the removal of the second tier of government – the provinces – should be seriously discussed. They are too expensive but without any real benefit to the people except as an employment agency and corruption platform for the elite.
AZAPO SALUTES THE GREAT BLACK THEOLOGIAN
AZAPO plays tribute to one of the foremost pioneers of Black Theology and theoreticians of Black Consciousness, Rev Prof James H Cone, who fell on 28 April 2018 at the age of 79. His death shocked the world of revolutionaries who pursue the struggle against white supremacy and for the restoration of Black dignity in the world.
World-renowned scholar and author of Race Matters Cornel West had this to say about his friend: “James Cone was the theological giant and genius in our midst! He was the greatest liberation theologian to emerge in the American empire – and he never ever sold out”.
On learning of Cone’s death, the President of the Union Theological Seminary Serene Jones said: “To say his death leaves a void is a staggering understatement. His prophetic voice, deep kindness, and fierce commitment to black liberation embodied not just the very best of our seminary, but of the theological field as a whole and of American prophetic thought and action”.
He is the author of seminal books like Black Theology and Black Power (1969); A Black Theology of Liberation (1970); God of the Oppressed (1975); The Cross and the Lynching Tree (2011).
Unlike many theologians who sought to disengage from saying and doing something about the socio-economic problems and the white racism that affected Black people of the world, Cone denounced a neutral theology as part of a conspiracy against Black people. To him, God could not afford to be neutral in the face of the hardships and the genocide generally experienced by Black in an anti-Black world. God could not be colourless. He had to be Black and be biased to Black People. He had to be a fighting and struggling God on the side of Black people.
On Black Power, Cone said: “Black Power is the power of black folks to make decision regarding their identity”. His view on God’s identity is that: “The search for black identity is the search for God, for God’s identity is black identity”. Then he gets blunt on God’s cultural and political standpoint: “If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him”.
In the Introduction to his book The Cross and the Lynching Tree, he shows how Jesus died exactly the same way Black people are murdered under the devil spell of white supremacy: “Despite the obvious similarities between Jesus’ death on a cross and the death of thousands of black men and women strung up to die on a lamppost or tree, relatively few people, apart from black poets, novelists, and other reality-seeing artists, have explored the symbolic connections”.
Needless to say, Cone was quite influential in the development of Black Theology in Azania. In Azania, Black Theology became an important segment of the Azanian Revolution through which the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM ) pursued the Spiritual Liberation of the land-dispossessed and oppressed Black people. It became an instrument through which an interpretation of religion aligned to the liberatory efforts of the Black people was achieved.
The Founding Father of the BCM , Steve Biko, cautioned against making the understanding of religion “the monopoly of so-called theologians”. As a revolutionary activist, he defines “religion as nothing else but what it is – i.e. a social institution attempting to explain what cannot be scientifically known about the origin and destiny of man…”
A number of the BCM militants pursued the Black Theology scholarship, among whom Sabelo “Son of Man” Ntwasa, Basil More, Itumeleng Mosala and Takatso Mofokeng.
AZAPO salutes our Son of the Soil in the Diaspora, James H Cone. We salute him and thank him for his contributions and giving Black Consciousness and Black Power a global footprint.
On 9 May 2018 the AZAPO Eastern Cape leadership paid a visit to Simpiwe “V12” Vetyeka who is lying at the East London Frere Hospital after both his legs broke following a hit and run accident in mid-April this year. He has recently undergone an operation on both his legs.
The Delegation was led by Anglican Reverend Zingisile Zake, Chris Swepu and Lungelo Ketye.
Vetyeka is a South African professional boxer who is the former WBA and IBO featherweight champion, as well as IBO bantamweight champion.
In giving hope and support to Vetyeka, Rev Zake led in prayer and read from the Bible Micah 7:8, “Do not rejoice over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will stand up; though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light”.
Cde Lungelo Ketye handed over a copy of Steve Biko’s book I Write What I Like autographed by AZAPO President Strike Thokoane, while Cde Chris Swepu made a few words that:
“AZAPO’s observation is that the South African black sportspersons generally vanish from the radar of wellbeing after they have retired, and return to the life of poverty and neglect until they meet their death whereupon they become famous again with all the public and government attention they receive”.
The leaders assured Vetyeka that AZAPO will initiate separate meetings with the MEC for Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture as well the Boxing South Africa (BSA) board and raise, among others, the issues below:
- BSA and the Department of Sports must initiate a medical aid and funeral scheme for Professional boxers.
- The BSA and Department of Sports must mobilize sponsors for South African Boxers especially world champions.
- We call on corporate South Africa to support boxers in the same way they support white athletes and rugby franchises.
- Boxing legends should be supported in forming Cooperatives and be supported through targeted work and business opportunities, in a similar fashion to military veterans. Most former world champions in East London are working as messenger drivers and cleaners.
- Embassies must support our boxers when they go and fight outside the country
An emotional and teary Vetyeka expressed his disbelief that there were people who still cared about Black people who are down and forgotten. He said he was at a loss for words. He however thanked AZAPO and said that the visit gesture worths more than a R1 billion gift.
Click here to view and print PDF version AZAPO Voice Volume 1 Issue 11